Friday, February 01, 2008

Retiring The Bum

If you have kept up with my blog lately then you know I have been annoyed with myself. I often refer to myself as a "bum." The main reason for that is I don't always get things done when I need to and I have been unmotivated for the past year. I think I may have learned the secret to motivating myself: positive reinforcement.

In retrospect I'm not sure why this was so difficult to figure out. When I was a kid I used to get up at 6am every morning and do my schoolwork (I was homeschooled). I normally finished by noon and had ample time to play outside in the mud (I enjoyed mud and frankly, Michigan is a mudhole). I am doing the same thing really, I get my work done and then I get a reward (mud). The main difference is that now I have to come up with a better reward and that can cost money. For example, since I completed my housework and made it to the gym this week I get to go see a movie. Next week I might do something more mundane like playing Civ IV. That's the only game I play. I find it's a constructive way to deal with my kneejerk neo-conservative leanings -- don't judge me I was once just like you, I mean, I was educated by neo-cons. Conquer a few virtual civilizations, win a virtual space race, set off a few virtual ICBMs and I'm all set to talk about what's wrong with the economy again. So, it's a very rewarding game. I digress as usual. I find that fun is a lot more rewarding when I know I have done my work. I must have forgot that fact in college since I had to grab fun when I could because most of what I did was study, study, study.

Housework and exercise are not the only things I have let slide over the past year. I have become terminally bad at sticking to my writing. I have jumped from one novel to the next with gaps of two months in between a couple weeks of frenzied effort. The hard working times never last. So, I have set down and really started editing my 2005 NaNo novel. I have the prologue in ship-shape condition. I have even allowed people to read it and tell me what's wrong with it. If you want to be one of those people and I trust you then send me an email and I might let you read my work. It's good to get all the feedback I can -- not that I will take everything you say seriously.

I feel a whole lot better about myself now. I realize that my problem has not been that there is something terribly wrong with me. It's been that I know I am not doing my best with my responsibilities. I think it's time for the bum to retire. Of course, if I get sick then the bum can come back for a few days.


Anonymous said...

Those of us who enjoy politics do like conquering the odd virtual civilisation don't we :-)

I am tempted to ask for your novel but I'm not sure if I should as I would want to treat it with the respect it would deserve. I'm not going to have much time in the coming weeks.

Praying for you. Thank you for each and everyone of your comments on my blog. They mean a lot to me.

Esther said...

It's only the prologue to the novel that is ready for anyone to read, not the whole novel. I could pdf the prologue and send it to you if you want. It's three or four pages single spaced.